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Football > NCAA > DVD > 2002 > Georgia Bulldogs at Alabama Crimson Tide
2002 Georgia Bulldogs at Alabama Crimson Tide DVD
2002 NCAA college football regular season DVD
recap / box score

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama (Ticker) -- Georgia finally left Bryant-Denny Stadium with a victory, as well as its best start in two decades.

Billy Bennett kicked a 32-yard field goal with 38 seconds left as the sixth-ranked Bulldogs answered any questions about their toughness in a 27-25 Southeastern Conference win over Alabama.

The Bulldogs have won their first five games for the first time since 1982 - when Herschel Walker captured the Heisman Trophy - and won at Tuscaloosa for the first time in eight tries.

Musa Smith carried 21 times for 126 yards and a score for the Bulldogs (5-0, 2-0 SEC East), who improved to 6-0 in road games under second-year coach Mark Richt despite squandering a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter.

"Well, let's face it, it was huge," Richt said. "Winning here was big. I'm proud to be part of this victory."

Georgia appeared to be headed for another bitter defeat here when Charlie Peprah returned an interception 35 yards for a score to give the Crimson Tide (4-2, 1-1 SEC West) its first lead at 25-24 with 9:24 left.

Greene threw a perfect pass into the hands of Fred Gibson, but the receiver never had control of the ball and Peprah grabbed it away and ran to the end zone.

Alabama had cut the lead to 24-19 less than a minute earlier when freshman quarterback Brodie Croyle dove over a defender and barely broke the plane of the end zone.

Earlier in the week, former Auburn coach and Georgia All-America Pat Dye had said that the Bulldogs weren't "man enough" to beat Alabama.

But the Bulldogs showed plenty of heart after Peprah's score. A 15-yard punt return by Damien Gary put the ball at the Alabama 34 and Georgia moved into position for Bennett as Smith carried six straight times for 19 yards.

"We played a great game. I am glad the guys blocked," Bennett said. "The snap was there. I didn't like to stand on the field too long. The quicker you do it, the better it is."

Following the field goal, Thomas Davis picked off Croyle's pass on the next play from scrimmage to seal the victory.

"We are man enough. We knew that," Georgia defensive end David Pollack said. "We played responsible football."

Georgia seemed to be in control when Greene connected on a 37-yard TD pass to Terrence Edwards 88 seconds into the final period, increasing the lead to 24-12.

Greene completed 15-of-27 passes for 224 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. Edwards caught five passes for 73 yards.

"I can't tell you good it is," Greene said. "It feels like the win in Knoxville (over Tennessee) last year. People counted us out and we stuck together and won."

Alabama has been one of the game's notable surprises, putting aside the effects of an NCAA probation to play inspired football under coach Dennis Franchione.

"Our players played with a lot of heart and determination," Franchione said. "We never got into rhythm offensively. And they kept us off balance with their great running game."

The Crimson Tide made the Bulldogs sweat, but were never able to get their running game in gear. Shaud Williams and Santonio Beard were held to 45 and 44 rushing yards, respectively.

Alabama also struggled with the kicking game as Brian Bostick had a 28-yard field goal attempt blocked and missed from 36 yards.

Smith gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead with a 15-yard touchdown run 5:56 into the contest, capping an 82-yard drive that included a pass interference penalty on the previous play.

Michael Ziifle kicked a 47-yard field goal late in the first quarter to cut the lead to 7-3.

The Crimson Tide had a chance to make it a one-point game early in the second quarter before Bostick had his 28-yard attempt blocked by Pollack. He also became the first Alabama kicker to miss an extra point since John Brock in 1996.

Georgia answered seven plays later as Greene threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Gibson to increase the lead to 14-3.

Alabama cut it to 14-9 on a 30-yard TD pass from Croyle to Dre Fulgham, but Bostick missed the extra point, keeping it a five-point game at halftime.

Croyle completed 16-of-29 passes for 197 yards.

"Too many missed opportunities," said Croyle. "We had our chances and they had theirs. They took care of it at the end."

Bennett kicked a 43-yard field goal and Bostick connected from 36 yards in the third quarter.

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